A URL shortener is a free online web service in which you enter a long URL and get a much shorter URL that redirects to the source address. This is usually useful for when the URL is too long, for aesthetic aspects, you want to hide the text that contains the URL or you need to use fewer characters, as in the case of some social networks. It also allows to obtain statistics on the times that the link has been clicked from the networks in which it has been shared.
Url shorteners are originally sourced experienced a boom which caused hundreds of them to emerge, however over the years their popularity has plummeted, among other reasons because short URLs have a greater propensity to be linked and can be used to hide the fate of the link and thus perform scams, although the security of them has improved markedly over the years. Most of the websites of shorteners live on the advertising they insert in them, while others have chosen to offer additional paid services to users
Advantages of URL shorteners
Url shortener websites offer us multiple advantages, of which we highlight:
- They provide us with useful information. At the level of web analytics, it allows us to obtain different metrics related to clicks on the link such as geographical location, the volume of clicks or those users with the highest activity.
- Increase traffic to our website. At the marketing level, the option to modify the URL is interesting since we can deliver a smaller link to the client or personalize it with relevant words or calls to action.
- More attractive content. In addition, in certain social networks such as Twitter whose content is limited to a series of characters these tools become essential both aesthetically and functionally.
How a URL shortener works
The vast majority of shorteners work on the basis that every top-level domain has a primary key associated with it. Knowing this, the shorteners generate a new base 36 URL (combination of the 10 numbers from 1 to 0 and the 26 letters of the Western alphabet) which belongs only to a certain web page, as if it were an identification code.
Examples of shorteners
For example, if we enter the URL of the Arimetrics glossary http://www.arimetrics.com/glosario-digital we will see the following shortened links:
- TinyURL will offer us the link https://tinyurl.com/glnd7le
- Bit.ly will give us https://bit.ly/2WSfUTm